Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Yesterday I saw in New York Times a series of 15 very professional pictures of Ahmedinijad´s visit to Iran´s uranium enrichment facilities. I wondered if the pics were authentic and what caused Ahmedinijad to show Iran's most secret site to the world. Anyway, if those thousands of silvery centrifuges are functional, Iran may be in fact more advanced in this area than the USA. The pic below show ultra rapid centrifuges 1.5 meter high, while the American centrifuges shown above are ten and more meter high. America had 3 gas enrichment facilities but closed 2 and let the third to decay. Then they decided to change to more efficient gaseous diffusion technology, which uses semi membranes. But Iran´s dwarf centrifuges made of carbon fiber polymers may resuscitate the technology.
A typical gas centrifuge works like this: Uranium hexafluoride gas is spun in a rotating column. The heavier U-238 is flung closest to the wall. The lighter U-235 isotope is scooped out. Centrifuges are connected in series and parallel to form cascades, producing the desired capacities and enrichment levels. Technically, the thing is very difficult, because the centrifuge has to spin very rapidly as capacity increases square of the speed. The major limitation is the material the rotor is made of as it has to stand those forces plus stand up to the uranium hexafluoride, which is very corrosive.
The technology became easier with the advances in carbon fibers, which allows to produce better separation components. Computers can now ran complicated gas flow models with relative ease. These models reduced the level of intelligence needed to understand and manage the fluid dynamics. And there are a whole new world of materials, electric engines, etc. which make the business of making enriched uranium much more easy and reliable.
Enriched uranium is unexpensive and many countries would happily sell their surplus but only for energy generation. Iran has no need to develope an independent enrichment industry for pacific purposes. The fact that it is doing it, publicly and against the world´s will, can only mean that (1) they have the illusion of becoming a great nuclear power, as behooves to the Great Persian Nation, in spite of their camel herding economy. That would give them great pride and satisfaction. For a while. (2) They want to have nuclear bomb manufacturing capability for military purposes. They may feel menaced by their neighbors, having been attacked by Saddam Hussein not so long ago. It was not a small war, certainly not for Iran that lost one million soldiers. Then and there they decided that they needed rockets and big bombs.
PS: Having slept on the problem, I have decided that Ahmedinijad is behaving in the typical Third World leader pattern, that is, he has one big shiny anti-American triumphal project to sooth his burning sense of inferiority. Peron nationalized British owned railways, Nasser nationalized the Suez canal, Kim exploded an atom bomb, etc. This does not solve Israel's problem, as the next step after having the bomb, is the urge to demonstrate its power.
PSS: Having slept more on the problem, now I am less sure that it is a prestige project, and not a self-defense deeply felt imperative. I shall stop sleeping on things because it only causes more confusion.
Another enigma or paradox at TASE (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange). Israel Corporation holds more than 50% of Israel Chemicals, our local POT. Due to the worldwide fertilizer demand and Mr. Doyle's miracle cartel, Israel Chemicals's price has risen very fast, in fact, much faster than the price of Israel Corporation, which is sold at a 30% discount in these days. This discount is explained by the strategy adopted by speculators which is based on betting in the future closing of this gap (they short Chem. and buy Corp.). It is the classical hedging strategy, and it may work. The question is how this large discount could ever develope? Are there no hedge fund managers playing this "pairs" strategy on the TASE?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We stopped at the Chatham palace in our way to the North. The snakes are not from Harry Potter but a Ducal emblem. Visiting dogs are well treated (This is England!). The toilet is decorated with the Duke (well, one of the Dukes) riding a horse. Ceilings are painted with eye tricks. Nice home for a Duke but needs 500 servants to maintain it. The park alone is worth visiting.
I spent time in Africa and this note by Reuters sounds true to me.
Police in Congo have arrested 13 sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and lynchings triggered by the witchcraft. Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members. "It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala.Also Chinese men have been known to suffer from the shrinking/receding/disappearing penis syndrome, but they find effective magic remedies in their pharmacies. We Jews are unaffected by penis size anxieties, but according to Freud, suffer from castration complexes. Each people with its fears.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Today I bought a fistful of KOOR shares on TASE. I am planning to increase my holdings of KOOR but to convince myself (retro-actively, that's me) that what I am doing is based on solid ground and not phantasy, I shall write down here my reasoning.
On March 25, 2008 two analysts of Prizma investment house (the largest in Israel) published a recommendation of BUY for KOOR. They wrote that KOOR holds 39.6% of Makhteshim Agan, the Israeli generic agricultural chemicals factory, and has 2.5 billion shekels in cash (about 700 million US dollars) and relatively smaller holdings of electronics and startup companies. According their analysis, the price of Makhteshim sets the price of KOOR, and they calculated (I dont know how) that on March 25, 2008 the TASE price of KOOR meant a 12% discount. They wrote that 12% was the highest ever discount that Koor was ever priced, and that the risks involved in buying KOOR were low. Recommendation: BUY.
Today April 28, 2008 the discount they found has increased as follows:
March 25, 2008
Koor 20,000 (200 shekel)
Makhteshim 2,600 (26 shekel)
April 28, 2008 (today)
Discount: The method of calculation is on Prizma´s web site (in hebrew) but I see no profit in calculating it as it obviously is higher than a month ago.
(a) Prizma was wrong in its recommendation, or too early, as Koor did not close the discount gap but actually increased it.
(b) The discount is larger than ever. If Prizma was right to say BUY a month ago, now it must be righter even more.
(a) BUY KOOR
(b) SELL KOOR
Bottom line: I dont know. G-d help me.
Below the Bottom line: Colbert, the CEO, is laughing above, and a paranoid may think that at me.
Northeast England is crisscrossed by an intrincate man made canal system for transportation of bulky merchandise like wool, pottery, coal. Like everything in England, the infrastructure is intact, well maintained, and in usable condition. One can rent a boat and explore at walking velocity those pre-industrial villages and workshops by the canals, still standing but left behind and forgotten by the roads and railways of progress. Originally, my plan was to spend a few days on the water, but it was too bucolic (i.e. boring) for my family, who hates the idea of living on a barge and operating rusting centuries old sluice gates. Maybe in the next gilgul (reincarnation).
Sunday, April 27, 2008
It is in my portfolio. The company has 1 billion cash and is searching where to put it. Has advised TASE that intends to invest in a communication company, possibly TATA. Currently it holds Israeli pesticide manufacturer Makhteshim Agan and electronics companies. Its share price is LOWER than the sum of its holdings. An enigma to meditate on, and an investment opportunity.
The film starts with the syphilitic artist on his death bed, with his only visitor Egon Schiele (Kinski) - a fellow painter and protégé. Two-way mirrors allow us to visit Klimt's past, while Schiele hallucinates. The film throws us back to the Golden Age of Europe - Klimt on the verge of winning the gold medal at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. Too much abstract argument, but nice long-legged German girls.
Israeli papers are predicting that the USA will bomb Iran. Craig from V-Dare thinks that that is the case:
According Novosti, Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said "that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future."Does it mean that oil may reach 200 $/barrel? I was burned by oil futures once. But the past does not predict the future, in my opinion. This is supposed to be a learning diary, so what did I learn from my infamous oil put option speculation in 2007? What is the lesson, "Try again!"?
Okaz, a Saudi newspaper, reported on March 22, the day following Cheney’s visit, that the Shura Council is preparing "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors."
Admiral William "there will be no attack on Iran on my watch" Fallon has been removed as US chief of Central Command, thus clearing the way for Cheney’s planned attack on Iran. Gen. David Petraeus (pic), promoter of the liquidation of Iran, has been promoted.
To counter any Iranian missiles launched in response to an attack, the US is deploying anti-missile defenses to protect US bases and Saudi oil fields.
It was only "yesterday" (200 years) that water technology reached the level it already had achieved 2,500 years ago in Rome. Technology, then, can be lost and not recovered for a long time. Above, a wood water pipe. Middle, stone water pipe. Down, the first clay sewage pipes, with oval section to reduce wetted surface.
Only a week ago I was unaware that the world is facing severe food shortages. I should have paid attention to Mr William Doyle, POT´s CEO, who predicted two months ago, shortages and famine during this year (excepting improbable record crop yields).
In contrast to the slowdown in the US economy, China, India and other Asian countries are continuing to experience significant, long-term population and economic growth. Because of this growth, people in these countries require more food and can afford a more nutritious diet that includes protein from meat sources. This requires an ever-increasing number of animals for food production and millions of additional tonnes of feed grains.
These factors have increased pressure on the world's food supply, as global grain consumption is expected to exceed production again this year – for the eighth time in the past nine crop years – and has left only enough supply to meet global needs for less than two months. The problem has been masked for nearly a decade by the world's ability to draw grains from long-held inventories, keeping crop prices artificially low and giving farmers little incentive to significantly increase production. In order to have stocks today equivalent to what they were at the start of this decade, an additional 225 million harvested acres would have been required over the past eight years, or 28 million acres per year, based on the average yield over this period. Now crop prices are moving up sharply, with wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and palm oil recently reaching record levels. These higher prices are driven by the substantial growth in demand for food, which is expected to consume 95 percent of global grain production this year. With grain consumption expected to increase by approximately 30 million tonnes per year going forward, record crops are necessary each year just to match the anticipated demand.
The intense competition for global crops is giving rise to a new concern: food inflation. Even in North America, where food has been plentiful for generations and competition for crops from developing nations has been minimal, the effect on grocery store prices is becoming evident. While higher crop prices are among the factors behind rising food costs, the impact is minimal as farm costs make up less than 20 percent of the end-cost of processed food in the US. Similarly, biofuels have been targeted as part of the problem, but in reality, they consume only 5 percent of the world's grains. The primary driver of food inflation is the ever-increasing demand created by hundreds of millions of consumers choosing more nutritious diets in nations with growing populations and wealth.
With the push for increased food production, the growth in demand for fertilizers has accelerated beyond historical levels. This is especially true of potash, which has been under-applied for years in many regions. A soil fertility shortfall in any of the primary nutrients lessens the impact of the others (LIEBIG's LAW), so many farmers are now attempting to improve the potassium levels in their soil to increase the benefits of all three nutrients. As a result, the compound annual growth rate in potash consumption has exceeded 5 percent annually over the past five years.
Prof. Hamilton´s Blog had a cute graph showing real dollar interest rates, which in the last few weeks has entered negative territory. He concluded that speculators were buying up all storable commodities, which explains the accelerated increase in their prices, including oil, rice, metals. The note was criticized by Paul Krugman and others, and now I cannot find it on his site.(The above graph of real interest rates on 10 year bonds is substituting for it).
Anyway, independently of how you measure inflation, real short-term interest rates are negative. The odds of financial disaster have receded. The latest statistics do not show an economy in freefall. Industrial production rebounded in March after plunging in February. The pace of existing home sales fell slightly in March, but was stable over the first quarter as a whole. Commodity prices continue to soar while the dollar plumbs new depths. The oil price hit a new record of almost $120 a barrel on April 22nd. The same day the dollar fell to a new low of $1.60 against the euro after members of the European Central Bank's rate-setting council expressed concern that inflation in the euro zone might not fall sufficiently fast from its 16-year high of 3.6%. Price pressures are building in the US at the wholesale level. Producer prices rose at an annual rate of 9% in the first quarter of the year, while prices of intermediate goods were up by 15%. If the dollar weakens further and commodity prices continue to soar, that pressure will rise. The incentive to take out loans and speculate in storable commodities will only increase.
Conclusion: This is the time when one should make use of all the dollar linked credit that is available at low rates (say up to 5% including expenses) and invest in commodities or some future vehicle linked to American inflation.
Happy speculation to you !
I knew Lanoptics was going to rise and the guru Shlomi Cohen has also said so. I did nothing, and the thingie - after stagnating for a year - rised 40% in the last week.
For more than a year I am following Brainsway, recommended by my old forum friend NOMAD. He is heavily invested in the company. I found that the magnetic stimulation of the brain is an old and discarded technique, so the Brainsway product may be based on a fraud. He said he didnt care, my observation was irrelevant, he looked only at the numbers on the ticker. He was right, after a long gestation, last week Brainsway stock doubled its worth.
I had been aware of and had considered repeatedly (see entries on the subjects) and seriously these two investment opportunities. I took the wrong decisions. I should have bought some of these merchandise. It hurts.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
HSBS has a nice green-looking building in the City of London. I was intrigued by the shades and semi-transparent envelope, and imagined it also had some water recycling scheme inside. Asked several of the building's occupants how the thing worked. No one had any idea what I was talking about. For them, it was just a regular office building. Maybe the building was working so well that no one noticed anything special. Maybe the "green" additions were not in use and served only as decoration (and another demonstration that the bank has a profound connection to the Good Mother Earth). Anyway, I liked the look of the building. It is a pity there is some brochure about the concept and some technical aspects.
My investment in the potash fertilizer cartel organized by Mr Doyle, CEO of POT, is causing me joy. Did I tell you how I discovered POT? Years ago, when I was invested only mutual funds, I was wondering in front of the Bank's computer why my fund was making less than the underlying shares. A very old man told me: Dont you know? The funds keep the best yielding shares, the dividends and the cream for themselves. I said: Cannot be. According to their constitution, they are transparent etc etc. He laughed and showed me how he was making on the Israeli POT. Cautiosly I sold my funds and bought POT. The rest is happiness. There was a long period of depression in its price, while Mr Doyle was setting up the cartel. I almost lost my faith. But Doyle delivered. He is a real modern industrial hero.
Now I am searching for another POT and another Mr Doyle. Metallurgical coal is my leading candidate. It is used in the steel-making and includes hard coking coal, semi-soft coking coal and PCI coal. Like Potash, metallurgical coal is produced in a limited number of countries. The market is characterised by large volume, longer term, annually priced contracts. Price negotiations between Australian suppliers and Japanese steel producers set the trend that influences settlements throughout the market. Anglo Coal is a significant supplier to virtually all the major steel producing groups in the world. The pic is Mr Boyd Payne, President of Fording Canadian Coal Trust, one of the players in this market. Mr. Payne was appointed President of the Trust and Fording ULC in January 2007 and President and Chief Executive Officer of Elk Valley Coal in August 2006. From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Payne was Vice President, Marketing for BHP Billiton in Singapore. From 1996 to 2001 he was Vice President of Marketing for Fording Coal Limited, whose metallurgical coal operations were acquired by Elk Valley Coal in 2003. He also held several senior positions with Line Creek Resources Ltd. from 1991 to 1996, Manalta Coal Ltd. from 1989 to 1991, and was General Manager of Gregg River Resources Ltd. prior to 1989.
Mr Payne: I for one have high expectations from you!
In the pic (please click on the image), a venerable centuries-old London banking establishment. It reminded me ... then said the Lord, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground..."
During these two weeks my portfolio managed, without my attention, very well. The world discovered that the credit crunch was mostly behind us, and that oil production was stuck and not going to increase anytime soon. Suddenly ethanol seemed realistic alternative and agricultural land and companies became valuable. Brasil seemed the land of the future, any more since Stephan Zweig's book of that title. Makhteshim Agan, Israel Chemicals, Koor, the Israel Corporation, all of which are in my portfolio, increased their values. The Israeli shekel strengthened and local stocks became worth more in US dollar terms.
The gods of the stock exchange have accepted my prayers at their London City temple.
In the hotel we made friends with a Frenchman with two beautiful teenager daughters (French girls are something). He spoke good Hebrew (had lived in Ein Harod kibbutz) and worked for the Societe Generale bank. They went to visit Marx's tomb, the author of Das Kapital, because it was in a nice old cemetery, he said. I have never formally resigned from the Uttorok (Hungarian Pioneer Communist Youth organization) but I am not keen to meet some North Korean delegation paying homage to Karl Marx. Instead, we explored the City and the old banks like baring Brothers, which I knew so well from their loans in the 19th century to the new South American republics.
Each on his own way, paid homage to the old gods of capitalism and his critics.
If I were a visitor from Mars, I could find no signs of authentic, fanatic religious beliefs in England except the "Being Good" theology. People carries no crosses and the churches are historical monuments, Muslims girls cover their hair but no Muslim prays on the street, as you see daily in Israel. What we saw is a general crazyness of the do-good religion. The most popular coffeeshops, Starbucks, push their wares as "good coffee doing good" meaning that they pay premium prices for their coffee (which is not bad) and recycle all pieces of paper and in general, their selling point is that customers do good while drinking their beverage. Water companies publicise how they help recycle water (all bullshit), and municipal waste haulage trucks have written in large characters how they help nature. Every business emphasizes how much they are on the side of the good guys, how they try to minimize their ecological footprint. Sandwiches are not eaten in England because they are tasty, but because the strange green leaves were grown biologically and the bacon was donated by a happy, well-treated pig; orange juice is sold as being all orange without "those hairy chemicals", and so on. I could notice no real, visible difference with non-doing-good goods sold in ecologycally no-good countries like, say, China, so in my opinion it is just ritual purity and religious oneness with the Creation ideology that the English have adopted. The effort to be "good" goes to absurd extremes, and I saw solar cells powering (apparently) some public artefact - the cells were positioned on a metallic street box at eye level, covered with dirt, and could not have produced enough electricity to power anything. But they were there as probe of the good intentions of the municipality or whatever corporation that had put it there.
In the Northern pottery area, one person explained us that there used to be 2,000 bottlelike chimneys in the area, typical of pottery factories, while now they were all gone. "They cleaned up the air, that's sure", I understood he wanted to say (he spoke some tongue-breaking Nordic language, barely understandable to me). Also the air of London is very good. The tap water is drinkable and has no chlorine taste.
The pic illustrates the extremes that this effort to be good and fair has gone. In a public pissoir they had this table for cleaning and changing babies. The feminists must have done it. On the other hand, I must recognize, the baby changing table in the men's toilet is a confused, ridiculous but harmless gesture. The English want desperately to be a good people, and in my opinion, they are.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
We spent two weeks in England, one week in the chilly, windy, cold North East, mostly in the Manchester - Liverpool area, and a few days in London. I am lifelong Anglophile, and I always was very interested in the once-in-the-history-of-humanity transition from artesanal to industrial economy. I imagined Northern English people, mostly descendants of Danes and Swedes, to be tall, slim, beautiful, intelligent, the nearer to supermen humanity ever got. In Argentina I met many English descendents and also lived among English expatriates in Africa, so I had rich, first hand experience about how they looked, how they lived and their boring books and plays. But I preferred to believe my fantasy and not what I saw with my own eyes. North East England is an industrial desert with a very bad weather, no factories at all, with imbecile BBC television shows, and the people ... no Nordic supermen, but stunted, short and deformed men, very bad teeth, speaking some heavy patois, with fat, bird-faced unattractive women. No drunken people on the streets. The streets and houses are clean and well maintained, the fields are well cultivated and the hedges carefully manicured. Apparently the situation is of comfortable stasis, and my sense of decadence is derived from the lack of no construction activity anywhere, residential, commercial or industrial. About 10% of the houses are on sale or to let. The only large-scale project I saw was the renewal of Manchester's hundred years old cast iron watermains by blue HDPE pipes and iron valves. The Government seems to have invested much resources in education, in the universities, but they have not produced new industries. The social structure, as far as I could ascertain, is solid and healthy: the people in the streets is organized in families with two or three blond children, and the schools were full and active. People is very friendly, warm and open, they could easily be engaged in street conversations and they seemed to like it. Very un-English in my prejudiced view, which it is a stupid observation as they are English.
We visited Manchester's industrial museum, sited in the world first train station, a very impressive complex of buildings. It was erected by a group of factory owners who exported their wares by canal to Liverpool port and the train offered a cheaper and faster mean of transport. My impression of the revolution is that it was no revolution at all, but the very gradual accumulation of production of simple wares, such as pottery and wool textiles, which gradually was powered by water and then steam. The secret of the 'revolution' is the extraordinary stability of England, which favoured the accumulation of wealth, the development of specialization and long-term investment. The only reason why the revolution took place in Manchester-Liverpool and not in Holland or Hamburg or Canton is, in my opinion, the stability of England: no wars, no political uprisings, no expropiations, no new constitutions, etc. for a seven or eight hundred years at least. English people are remarkable not for their beauty nor intelligence, but because of their iron-strong stability of character. While in the continent the Black Death plague caused panic and hystery and breakdown of social order, the English reacted with stolid persistance. They have this inborn tendency to solid social order which allows the development of an economy.
One notable whing for me, as a Jew, was the realization that the whole industrial revolution took place without Jews "greasing the wheels of history". Jews played no role in this drama. In our anthropocentric history of humanity, we are proud of our contribution to civilization, and I think we did much, but in this fundamental phase of human progress, our role was marginal or nil. It is a sobering thought.
London is a nice and friendly city, peopled by all the races of the world. Even English people can be found living in it. I found my supermen in the City, in the banking area, where met them by the thousands, having their midday lunch break in vegetarian biological health sandwich shops. At five they exited in mass to the many pubs in the area, standing in the street and drinking beer. We visited some banks, cavernous halls where Mary Poppins employer worked, and I was impressed by the use of computers and cell phones. The City works, no doubt. Many new, innovative buildings that are changing London's landscape. The theaters are also very creative and fresh, we saw "We will rock you..." about Freddy Mercury, and "Chicago", a wonderful musical. I missed Shakespeare's Globe "King Lear" because my daughter preferred the Eye and other culturally lighter attractions. We found London a multirracial town, but so heavily policed and televised (and indoctrinated) that it is very secure and racial tension seems totally absent.
We shall certainly be coming back soon, as I was left without King Lear in Shakespeare's Globe and the girls have yet to complete their shopping.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
My daughter told me the story: the old Argentinian gentleman from the sixth floor, a former tennis trainer from Cordoba, Argentina, a still good looking old sportsman, appeared one day at the door of my Mother's apartment with flowers, asking her to marry him. He cannot live any more with his wife and wants to divorce her. My Mother is approaching ninety and walks with difficulty. I like to chat with the old Cordobes, I enjoy his strong provincial singsong accent and his pachorra (slow tempo). The suitor was kindly rejected and she told me nothing. Cosas veredes, Sancho...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The local paper brings a story of professional interest to me. Simtat Avivim St. and the HaShalom neighborhood say they are suffering from strong sewage smell now for the last year and half. The are sueing the Municipality and the Mayor personally. The neighbors have identified a main sewage line that they demand to be eliminated according the TAHAL consultants´s advice. They also demand an H2S gas study, including in the neighborhood Golda school. They say that the strong sewage odor fells people and they are forced to abandon their homes. The Municipality contracted an environment consultant, El-Chem, which submitted its report on October 2007. They found three points where H2S is over the permitted concentration in the air, one of them in the Gold school's sports hall.The municipality announced that Golda will be closed down, but instead it installed an air purifier in the nearby pumping station and Golda operated as always. The neighbors took a lawyer, Guy Ofir, who tried advance the cause. In December 2007, Giddeon Mazor, from the Ministry of Environment, started to demand some action from part of the Municipality. The Municipality maintains that there is no sewage odor at all, it must all in the imagination of the Kever Benjamin's inhabitants.
The Engineer's two cents: A new sewage pumping station started working a year and half ago near gas station on the Old Haifa Road. Each time the pumps start working, they push the sewage to through the main line toward the city's highest topographic point and from there, the sewage flow by gravitational force to the wastewater treatment plant in the Pecan Neighborhood (which is not in Kever Benjamin's area). Golda school and the neighbors affected by the smell area, what a coincidence, located exactly in the hilltop and there must be there some pressure reducing or air valve accessory on the main line. I have no time to look into the situation, but a tall aireation chimney and an efficient air purification system may be helpful. The Municipality's problem is that its right hand does not know what its left hand is doing, and contracted TAHAL and an unknown environmental consultant, who may be unaware of how the system works. Balasha-Yalon Consultants from Haifa have been Kever Benjamin's sewage engineers in the last fifty years.
שתי תושבות המקום, הגרות בסמוך לבית הספר, הגיעו למיון לאחר שחשו ברע. ''סבלתי מכאבי ראש, קוצר נשימה, בחילות והקאות, סחרחורת וכמעט אובדן הכרה וכך גם בתי הגרה איתי. פנינו למוקד חירום ואובחנו אצלנו תסמינים של פגיעה חמורה'' תושבי מתחם בית הספר ''גולדה'', ברחוב השלום, במרכז העיר, פנו השבוע לעירייה באמצעות עו''ד גיא אופיר, בדרישה לפתור מיידית את בעיית הגז (מימן גופריתי) הנודף ככל הנראה מהביוב בבית הספר.
I always thought that the idea of Conspiracy to Dominate the World was the one written in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Protocols, written and published by the Tzarist Secret Police, explains the plan by which the Jews are working to rule the world. Russian Tzars saw in revolutionary Jews their mortal enemy, a weltanschauung which was far from sheer paranoia, as later events demonstrated. The Communist Party, with its heavily Jewish cadres, shot the Tzar and his family, and dismantled (to use an understatement) the 400 years old Tzarist regime. Judged on the basis of results, the Protocols (as a weapon of psychological warfare) failed miserably, and it only served to instil animal fear in the Jewish soul and to harden its determination to fight to death the evil Tzarist regime.
In the blogosphere, the more intelligent bloggers suggest that the Protocols have been discarded and an innovative plan is now in the works. The creativity of the old-new antisemites is truly fascinating. I want to be like the evermore-intelligent, tireslessly planning, scheming, all-powerful, fabulously wealthy Jews they say we are and as I must necessarily be. Developing this train of thought, this is the right place to state that I feel mature and ready to take up my turn to rule the world. I am expecting every day the Elder of Zion's notification to present myself in their offices and start ruling. Maybe the secretariat mistyped my address and that's why I have yet to receive the assignment and the fat cheque I am undoubtly entitled to?
The progressives (aka Jews. My interpretation.) no longer need muscle. They are in the saddle. There are no more Grayson Kirks, let alone Bull Connors. What they need now is votes, and the biggest vote bank of all is just south of the border. Immigration will keep the progressives in power for the next century. They always have been the American PRI, and they always will be.
And I haven't even stated my theory yet.
Fortunately, it's not my theory. It is a very old theory. Perhaps it even predates Mencius himself. It comes from China, so he would recognize it, and it has a catchy name: yi yi zhi yi.
This roughly translates as "using the barbarians to control the barbarians." Typically the implication is that when you have a problem with some tribe of barbarians, what you need to do is look for a bunch of even nastier barbarians, and sic them on the original barbarians. Ideally, the nastier barbarians are so barbaric that they are not conceivably a threat to you, the sophisticated mandarins of the Middle Kingdom, but still nasty enough to distract your real enemies on the frontiers, who may have learned to read and write or something. When the Romans unleashed the Huns against the Germans, it was a classic case of yi yi zhi yi.
Does this remind anyone of the real meaning of diversity? I'd like to think it's obvious. But perhaps I should just spell it out.
Basically, the Brahmins have every possible Machiavellian interest in encouraging an invasion of Third World barbarians. The more, the nastier, the better. Their real hereditary enemy is the native barbarian - the half-civilized Vaisya, the ignorant megachurched Okie redneck, the Huckabee voter, the Bircher and McCarthyite, America Firster and Coolidge voter. In the dim, distant past, the spectre of Davis and Lee and Ben Hill looms grimly up.
They will take all the Huns they can get against this breed of barbarian. They are quite aware that if their real enemies ever seize real power, it's lamppost time. Huns are not available these days, but J.T. is. And if the nationalist, nativist American right ever regrows some little pocket of testicular tissue, he is one more speed bump they'll have to go through on their way to DC. It never hurts to have a few more well-armed thugs on your team. At least not if you're a progressive, and you believe in peace and love and hugs and puppies. Yes, we can!
Of course, I'm not saying that the people who believe in peace and love, etc, actually thought up this strategy and have secret meetings where they gloat about how well it's all working. They don't need to. However they explain it to themselves, yi yi zhi yi is what they're doing. And you can't exactly call it a failure.
Did you watch that Mandela video? The man next to Mandela is Joe Slovo. One of South Africa's leading progressives active in the liberation struggle. Or, as some might say, Communist terrorists. Do you wonder why this pasty-faced fellow is comfortable in a crowd full of people chanting "kill the whites?"
Actually, the captions on the video are mistranslated. The word in the song is amaBhulu, a Xhosa racial slur which refers not to all whites, but specifically to Afrikaners. Which Slovo (being a cosmopolitan Lithuanian born Jew, see pic) is most definitely not. So the crowd is essentially chanting "kill the rednecks," ie, Slovo's hereditary tribal enemies. No wonder he has a smile on his face. Yi yi zhi yi.
"The Economist" choose Israel to write about. Representing upper class English built in disdain for everything not English, it finds Israel at 60 successful and astonishing, but also locates some imperfection and examines extensively this small pimple, arriving to the conclusion that Israel is one big ugly pimple. Having arrived to this extremely satisfying conclusion, the Oxford trained English journalist is able to concede that not all is that bad. I am unable to satirize its style, but there is no need to exaggerate The Economist peculiar attitude:
"Beneath its gleaming high-tech skin, the body of Israel's economy is slightly worn. True, the country has some successful industrial giants and does well in a few export niches such as generic drugs, weapons systems and seems agricultural and water-treatment technology. Water scarcity has already led Israel to build the world's biggest desalination plant, and around ten more are planned. However, much of the country's traditional industry, such as machinery, chemicals, clothing and food, which accounts for more than half of its jobs, is lackluster. Average industrial productivity is around half that in America. One reason: Israel leads the world in R&D spending as a proportion of GDP, but this is heavily concentrated in high-tech. In more traditional industries the rate is just a quarter of America's."Translation: Israel succeeded in breaking away from an economy based on conventional industries, such as textile, into high tech cutting edge industries such as the internet. Instead in competing with the Indian textile factory worker, we are competing with Silicon Valley geniuses. I think it is an achievement, but The Economist thinks a well-balanced economy should be based on traditional industries. The Economist doesnt like Israel breaking its way into the world's front line industries. To the Englishman in The Economist, Israel at 60 feels gross, tasteless, pushy.
Our pink-faced gnome of Minister of Infrastructures succeeded in making nervious the Parsis (Iranians). Fuad said that, "an Iranian attack on Israel will lead to a harsh response by Israel that will cause the destruction of the Iranian nation." This is the same thing the Iranians say every day, that they will destroy the "Zionist Entity". But hearing from a Jewish son of a monkey (their definition) the very same words directed to them has provoked a nervious breakdown. Iran's ambassador to the United Nations Muhammad Kazai complained that Ben-Eliezer's statement was part of "the continuing warnings made by Israeli representatives that constitute insulting and scandalous threats against the Republic of Iran."
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This morning died another victim of a vicious strain of Meningococcus. He was a year old boy from Beit Shemesh, a small town near Jerusalem. His four brothers and other children who came into contact with him are being treated with antibiotics. The pic is one of the many symptoms of this pathogen. Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) is a common bacterium and lives harmlessly in the noses and throats of about 1 in 4 people. This bacterium does not survive outside the body. Close contact is needed to pass it on to others such as intimate kissing, coughing, or sneezing near to others. According to the literature, meningococcal infections are isolated cases. The risk of others 'catching' it are low as many people are carriers and/or have natural immunity. Now, why are we having so many deaths?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Fording Canadian Coal Trust (FDG) is a royalty trust. The Trust, through its subsidiaries, holds a 46 percent interest in Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. and a 60% interest in the Elk Valley Coal Partnership, which currently operates six Canadian mines in British Columbia and Alberta.
Elk Valley Coal’s operations employ conventional open pit mining techniques using primarily truck and shovel methods The majority of coal mined and processed at the Company’s operations is metallurgical hard coking coal for the global steel industry. Responsible for about one sixth of the global seaborne market supply, Elk Valley Coal is the second-largest supplier of its product in the world. The Elk Valley Coal Partnership accounts for about 98 percent of the Trust's revenues.
Looking at the graph, FDG's share price went from 20 to 70 in one year. It appears that I am late to this party. But coal blogs speculate that coking coal will increase by 240% from last year's bench mark price of $98/tonne, so the new price would be $333/Tonne. FDG would be able to distribute 17$ per share! It may still have some interest.
I would like to have more time to research and discover the next metallurgical coal when it is cheap, at 20$, and not when it has risen to 70$. Where will the next scarcity be?
Two thieves were lynched and their bodies burned in a barrio in Bogota, Colombia. The event was filmed and is on the Ecuadorian paper's site El Comercio. Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with neighboring Colombia after a Colombian army raid in Ecuadorian territory and the note may be reflecting this sentiment.
Koor Holding Company lost 5% while Makhteshim rised 13%. I am losing some 25% on Koor and I cant explain it to myself because Koor holds 39.6% of maktheshim and other electronics and venture capital businesses. Koor has 2.5 billion dollars in cash waiting for an investment opportunity. Koor is underpriced some 40% according to Pisgot analysts, and I feel it should be selling for the double of its current price. But the market thinks differently. Is there something I dont know?
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Coal prices have soared to a record after serious disruptions at some the world's most important coal producers. The benchmark price in Asia jumped 25% to $116 a tonne. China has halted exports, South Africa is decaying and Australia's mines are flooded. Indonesia, the world's biggest coal exporter, has sold all its 2008 output. Supply is so tight at the moment that users just have to pay whatever producers are asking, and if they sit around and wait, they will either have to fork out even higher prices or be told there is no more tonnage available.
Asian electricity producers are now scrambling to secure coal. Stocks at South Korean utilities have fallen to less than two weeks worth of supplies, according to reports. The Philippines state electricity company is struggling to source coal due to high prices.
Gerard McCloskey, publisher of McCloskey's Coal Report, however predicted that the shortage of coking coal would persist for years, until the expansion of Australian rail and port capacity catches up with demand.
Top Coal Exporters (2006e) Total of which Steam Coking
Australia 231Mt 111Mt 121Mt
Indonesia 129Mt 104Mt 25Mt
Russia 92Mt 82Mt 10Mt
South Africa 69Mt 68Mt 1Mt
PR China 63Mt 59Mt 4Mt
Colombia 60Mt 60Mt -
USA 45 Mt 20Mt 25Mt
Is this temporary phenomenon or a long term global scarcity? How flexible is coal production? What is the equilibrium price vis-a-vis oil? Is a cartel being organized as against the formerly existing buyers cartel? How to profit from this scarcity?
A current of change is happening in the deep. POT, the Saskatchewan Fertilizer Company, has more than tripled is worth in two years. Its prosperity is based on a real scarcity of fertilizer and a well organized cartel. I dont have to remind myself of the oil thingie, its price reflects a global scarcity and also a loose cartel. Is COAL the next? I think many producers of commodities must be salivating and planning of a deep re-ordering the word according to OPEC, which one has a chance?
Trader Mark blogs:
ArcelorMittal (MT) CEO was accurate last week [ArcelorMittal Sees Metallurgical Coal Prices Rising 150-200%]. Posco (PKX), a South Korean steel giant, Monday agreed to a 205-210% increase in coking coal. Tremendous. I was hoping Massey Energy (MEE) would fall off a cliff with the Arch Coal (ACI) news, but it did not even go negative on the day. Now I have to wait for Barron's to tell me about the death of commodities again so I can rebuild my position there. Because remember, when the US domestic economy slows down the whole rest of the world shuts down... or so thats what the pundits tell me. And remember, almost every coal company has some exposure to metallurgical coal. And if you read the last paragraph, it looks like thermal coal is also set to see a large increase. Steel prices are poised to rise further after an Asia steelmaker yesterday agreed to a tripling in price of its supply of coking coal in a settlement that is likely to set the benchmark for the steelmaking industry. South Korean steelmaker Posco said it had accepted a 205-210 per cent rise for its supplies from Australian miners. Analysts said that the agreement was likely to be followed by other steelmakers in the region and in Europe, resulting in higher inflation in emerging economies. The increase in the cost of coking coal as set by the Posco settlement was larger than the level expected by the market and the industry and comes on top of a 65-71 per cent rise in iron ore prices this year. Iron ore and coking coal are the two main expenditures for the steelmaking industry. Analysts said that steel prices might need to rise up to 20 per cent to cover the jump in coking coal cost. Steelmakers raised the prices of their products 10-20 per cent in February and March after the cost of iron ore went up. Alan Heap, commodities analyst at Citigroup in Sydney, said that the coal markets had tightened further as a result of production losses in Queensland and reduced Chinese and South African exports."We now expect coking coal contract prices to be set at $285 a tonne," Mr Heap said. That compares with current prices of about $85 a tonne. Spot transactions of coking coal have reached up to $375 a tonne for premium Australian coal, according to Mr Heap. He added that some steelmakers had purchased significant volumes of spot coking coal from US suppliers at very high prices, highlighting the degree of supply shortage in the industry. The increase in coking coal prices is likely to be replicated in thermal coal for power plants, with Australian miners seeking to double the prices to about $110-$125 a tonne, according to brokers and analysts.This may be my next investment project. Think.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Any Iranian attack on Israel would lead to fierce retaliation resulting in "the destruction of Iran," said Infrastructure Minister Fuad Ben-Eliezer. "The Iranians won't rush to attack Israel, because Ahmadinajad understands (see pic) the significance such action would have and are well aware of our strength," added Ben-Eliezer. The minister said today's large civil defense exercise "is not a meaningless spectacle or a fictional scenario. The future reality is likely to be a number of times harsher than that which we recognize now. We are confronted with a situation where the home front becomes the front line. In a future war, it will be much safer to live in [the northern towns of] Nahariya and Shlomi instead of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, since I expect that in the opening attack hundreds of missiles will strike Israel. There will be no place in the country which is not within range of the enemy's rockets."